This has nothing to do with writing.
There are these sweets I like to make around Christmas. Every year, I forget the recipe I used the previous year, I try to find something helpful online, and I can never find one that’s exactly what I want. So I thought I should probably write it down.
This year, I was helped by these two recipes: Orangettes from Serious Eats, and Chocolate-coated grapefruit peel from Sweet by Ottolenghi. But those are both for the peel, rather than slices of the whole fruit.
- 3 large oranges
- 300g sugar and 300ml water
- 1.5 to 3 tsp Angostura bitters, to taste
- dark or white chocolate
How to make them
- Slice the oranges. They need to be pretty thin, so that the peel gets cooked enough to make it not bitter. But too thin will mean they’ll collapse while cooking. 5mm, perhaps.
- Blanch the orange slices in water. Most of the recipes have a complicated boil-chill-boil cycle that seems tedious. I tried that, and also boiling for 2 minutes then cooling. Both ways came out fine, so I’d go for the latter. Boil a large pan of water, and put the orange slices in it for 2 minutes, then cool them by running them in cold water. You’ll need to boil the slices in batches, and make sure the water stays on the boil.
- Make the sugar syrup. Put the sugar and the water in a large saucepan, and heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Then add 1.5tsp of bitters.
- Boil the oranges in the sugar syrup. Add all the slices - gently! - to the sugar syrup, and leave them there for 40 minutes to 1h30. Keep the heat gentle: you want the syrup to be simmering, not boiling violently.
Don’t let the pan boil dry. If it’s getting dry, add more sugar and water (1g sugar:1ml water) to top it up. Ottelenghi suggests adding a parchment circle on top to keep all the slices submerged, which works pretty well.
About 30 minutes in, extract a slice, let it cool, and taste it, to decide whether to add the rest of the bitters.
- It’s done when… well, when the oranges are no longer bitter, and kind of translucent.
- Dry the oranges. Carefully extract the slices (they can be a bit delicate at this point) and lay them on a drying rack or just on some baking paper.
We put them in the hot-but-turned-off oven for a bit to speed up the drying process, but you need to be careful it’s not too hot. They will dry out at room temperature, it just takes longer.
Don’t throw away the syrup! We keep it in a jar in the fridge and put it in cocktails and things.
- Dip the slices in chocolate. Really it’d be best to have tempered chocolate, but I’m usually too lazy. Melt 100g of chocolate at a time in a mug (repeat if you run out); dip the slices in so they’re half covered, shaking off the excess. Leave them to dry for a few hours.
And that’s it. Yum.